Indoor Cricket World Cup: UAE dejected after missing out on semi-final spot
Fifth-place finish in pool phase means they are now playing for second-tier plate title this weekend
The UAE have been left ruing Monday night’s dramatic loss to India after being knocked out of the main competition at the Indoor Cricket World Cup.
A fifth-place finish in the pool phase means the national team are now playing for the second-tier plate title this weekend at Insportz, Dubai.
Ironically, they will now get the chance to try to exact revenge when they will face the Indians in the plate semi-final at 3.30pm on Friday, while England play Malaysia in the other match.
The host nation were left with an acute feeling of “what might have been” after easing to a predictably emphatic win over last-placed Malaysia in their final pool match.
On the neighbouring court, New Zealand were thrashing India. After New Zealand amassed 104, India’s final total after their 16 overs was zero.
It was galling for the UAE players, who had nearly beaten the title-chasing New Zealanders in their opening match, yet somehow contrived to lose to India.
The points they passed up in that game subsequently cost them a place in the top four, as Sri Lanka beat them to a place in the semi-finals, along with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
“It is heart-wrenching to see India lose by a considerable margin against New Zealand, when we almost beat New Zealand,” said Vikrant Shetty, the UAE stand-in captain.
“It was clearly the match against India that was the crucial tie for us. We didn’t play well under pressure and we didn’t play to our talent on that particular day.
“That made a big difference. We lost skin points, we lost the match, and those one or two points meant we didn’t get fourth position.”
Sameer Nayak was a standout performer in the opening match against New Zealand, but has missed most of the tournament since with a glute injury.
The ambidextrous all-rounder has said it is unrealistic he will play a further part in the competition, but hinted he might play through the pain if it came to righting the wrong against India.
The players are seething at the way they succumbed to the Indians, on an extraordinary night in front of an impassioned crowd of supporters backing both sides.
“They scored 49, which is not much, and then had minus-10 [time penalty], which was a gift from God – but we didn’t listen to God,” Shetty said. “We were listening to the crowd instead, and didn’t play to our strengths.”
The win over Malaysia was notable for the debut of Fahad Al Hashmi.
His appearance meant the Emirati fast bowler was representing the UAE in a second World Cup of cricket, having done so in the 50-over version outdoors in New Zealand in 2015.
He made the most of his time in the spotlight, too, on an eventful outing. He restricted Malaysia to minus-one from his two overs, but was later hit with a five-run penalty when he was batting for verbally abusing an opposition player.
Sri Lanka advanced in front of UAE after a last-ball win over England.
“What made the difference was our batting,” said Tharindu Mendis, the Sri Lanka captain, and former Dubai resident.
“In the last three games we struggled with our batting, but in this game the boys came out strongly and put up a very good score.”
The UAE women ended their involvement in the competition with a second defeat to Australia, who appear set fair for a ninth successive title.
“It is all positives for us, we have not taken any negatives from this game and the Indoor Cricket World Cup experience,” said Natasha Cherriath, the UAE captain.
“This is our first tournament, and for a team that has been only playing outdoor cricket I am so proud of the girls.
"Everyone believes in themselves, and I believe we are only going to keep getting better."
Updated: September 21, 2017 10:47 PM